Meeting with entrepreneurs is incredibly fun as there’s always something new to learn. Tell me about the team, the market, the product, and the raison d’être — plus 100 more questions that come up along the way. During this exploration process, inevitably there’s something the entrepreneur doesn’t know yet or hasn’t thought through.
While some entrepreneurs are more confident than others, it’s often apparent when the entrepreneur is just making something up or saying what he or she thinks you want to hear. Instead, the best answer is as follows:
I don’t know, but let me get back to you.
On the surface it seems so simple and obvious, yet few entrepreneurs do it. First, it shows a level of humility and honesty that’s not common. Entrepreneurs aren’t expected to know it all. With that said, entrepreneurs should be curious and have an innate desire to learn and grow. Second, it provides a next action giving the entrepreneur a chance to show how they follow through and execute on a commitment. Again, small on the surface but powerful in the context of potentially working together over a long period of time.
The next time you ask an entrepreneur a question where they don’t have the answer, listen to the response and see what they do with it. The type of response and potential follow through tells a great deal about the person.
2 thoughts on “I Don’t Know, But Let Me Get Back to You”
Good advice David. Applies equally to entrepreneurs pitching their company as well a corporate development M&A and strategic account management. Don’t pretend to know the answer or lie, just say you will follow up…and actually do it.
Sage advice, my friend.